Gone before you get there: All Gundam Cafés in Japan to shut down permanently in early 2022

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Pinoy Gundam fans looking to visit a Gundam Café in Japan in the future would have to rework their travel bucket list. Bandai has announced it will start shutting down all four Gundam Cafés in the country permanently in early 2022.

In the statement released on the shop’s website on November 1, Bandai said that the closure will begin with Osaka’s Gundam Square on January 10.

This will be followed by the Tokyo Brand Core Cafe in Akihabara, as well as the Odaiba and Fukuoka outlets on January 30.

The café also has a pop-up branch in the Gundam Factory Yokohama, but that, too, will be shuttered on March 31, completing the closure of all Gundam Cafés in Japan.

Gundam Café

There was no reason specified for the shutdown, but prior announcements have indicated that the cafés had to shorten their operating hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unprecedented tourism decline may have also played a huge part in the decision. According to Japan Today, the cafés are located in areas that would usually receive a large number of local and international visitors pre-pandemic.

The first Gundam Café was launched in Akihabara in April 2010, with all four outlets becoming famous as a one-stop shop for fans globally.

During its 11-year run, the café chain served Gundam-themed food and drinks, in addition to selling Gundam models and other merchandise of the mega-franchise.

While the announcement made quite a buzz, especially among avid fans, it’s not entirely endgame for the Gundam Café. The company is also urging fans to look forward to its “next project,” which will “suit the times.”

Whatever it is, it’s surely worth keeping an eye on, along with Netflix’s upcoming live-action Gundam movie that the streaming giant announced last April.

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